Monday, January 26, 2015

A Game of Gift Giving Chess... A tale of two lamps

Christmas was last month, can you believe that.  Just a moment ago really.
The gift giving custom used to take place in the wee early hours of Christmas, but now that the kids are in their late teens and early twenties they value their sleep.

Of course the kids go first, Hannah plays Santa and passes out the gifts. The paper flies over their heads and litters the ground. Our kitten, Illinois, chases the ribbons, attacking it with a vengeance. Then a lull settles in as we clean up the floor. The kids spread out their gifts before them oooing and awing the gifts.

Now, it is my husband and I's turn.

This year I go first, a few boxes of gifts sit before me. The paper wrinkled and too much tape covers each.  That man will always use too much tape. I pick one, slowly unwrapping it, digging into the crumpled newspaper until I find an antique milk glass lamp.

I smile, the nubbly glass is cool to the touch...

Every year we have a secret game going... or at least I do.  Can we guess what the other bought?  For years I've gotten it right, always figuring out what each box holds. You would think it would be easy right, because I have weeks to weigh, or rattle the packages, but no, my husband goes shopping on Christmas eve. So, I have no time to figure the gifts out.  This year was no different, but what he doesn't know is, I'm good at reading him.  Earlier that month we'd gone to our favorite antique shop, Gilley's. Both of us fell in love with a pair of milk-glass lamps. Immediately I knew he was going to buy them for me for Christmas.  After 26 years of marriage you acquire a sort of Vulcan mind meld with your husband. I knew without a doubt that was his intention.  

Only this year I decided to play an artful game of gift giving chess.  A game of wit in the fashion of Sherlock Holmes.

I know his Christmas eve routine.  Get out of the house by 10 am, shop until lunch, then eat at Hardee's, because that is the only place our son will agree to eat, then come home and wrap the presents.  Somewhere along the way he'll stop at Gilley's and Kohls. Kohls, because he'll buy me that down comforter, this was an easy guess by the way.  My plan this year, buy the lamps first, but something happened as I held the lamp in my hands.  A wonderful plan emerged.  I would only buy one lamp. This would drive him nuts, who would just purchase one?  They after all, are a set, they've spent their life together.

Now, here is the gamble, another set of lamps were in the store, not as pretty and rusted around the base. But my husband might buy those since they are the only pair. No, I was going for it. I snatched up the one lamp, leaving the other all lone on an oak dry sink. Wait patiently, my little lonely lamp, my husband will be here in an hour or so to buy you... at least that was my hope.  

At home, I wrapped the now solitary lamp, and placed it under the tree.  Sure enough, the kids and my husband poured through the door sometime after three o'clock, and I was ordered to wait in my bedroom while they decorated the packages.  I held my breath in anticipation most of the night.  Would I win at this game of cards or had I just abandoned an antique to live its life forever alone.

"Do you like it?" My husband's words stirred me from my thought. The lamp my husband bought me rested in my lap, and I cradled it in my arms.

I sighed from relief.  I know him too well.

 "I was going to buy the set, but can you believe some idiot bought just one!" His cheeks pulled up from excitement.

"Why who would do such a thing." I smiled to myself, keeping a check on my emotions. The other matching lamp he'd yet to open laid under the tree.

"I almost purchased the other set, but they weren't as nice."

"No, this is the one I wanted.  Thank you."

Now the lamps are reunited, each setting on our night stands a testament to our 26 years of marriage.  Next year, who knows what game I'll play, Moriarty, but I'm sure going to enjoy it!